A good headset can make a big difference when playing games. Whether you like to get immersed in the game with the music of sound effects or you need to hear every enemy footstep to know where they are, choosing the right pair of headphones for you can be quite a task. You should look at overall build quality, how comfortable they are, how they sound, and if the microphone sounds good. If you don’t need a microphone, then most wired, audiophile headphones would be a good option.
We've tested over 580 headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best gaming headsets to buy. Also, see our recommendations for the best PS4 headsets, the best Xbox One headsets, the best PS5 headsets, and the best Xbox Series X/S headsets.
The best gaming headset that we've tested is the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. These over-ear gaming headphones have a premium, very sturdy-feeling metal design with a flexible microphone that can also retract into the left ear cup. Combined with support for wired connections, they have a bit of versatility for more casual use. Their easy-to-use control scheme and 15-hour plus battery life should keep your gaming sessions interruption-free.
Their most unique feature is their base transmitter, which provides a low-latency wireless connection with your PC or PS4 console as well as support for on-the-fly channel mixing and EQ customization. Out-of-the-box, their overall sound profile is extremely accurate, which should provide high amounts of detail across your listening experience, although that can be tailored to your liking in the SteelSeries Engine app. Their great microphone ensures your voice sounds full-bodied, distortion-free, and clear of any background noise.
Unfortunately, their restrictive headband means they fit a little tight, especially if you have a large head. They also lack functionality if you’re using them with an Xbox One console. You’ll get audio but no microphone support. If you like how they fit and game on PC or PS4, they’re a great choice.
If you’re looking for an even more customizable alternative, check out the Logitech G933 Wireless Gaming Headset. They lack the high-end build quality of the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless, but they're compatible with Logitech’s G HUB software, which allows for a huge degree of personalization. Not only does the app include traditional features like a graphic EQ and volume mixing controls, but it also allows you to remap the three physical buttons on the headset for a variety of commands, including switching audio presets and changing lighting effects. They come with audio and RCA cables so that you can plug them into your phone, console controller, or home theater setup without too much of a hassle.
If you prioritize premium build quality and a rich feature set, get the SteelSeries, but if you’re the type to tweak and optimize every inch of your gaming experience, take a look at the Logitech.
The Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019 is the best wired gaming headset that we've tested. These well-built headphones come in both PS4 and Xbox One variants, and their wired design ensures that you don't have to worry about running out of battery while gaming. Their comfortable fit makes them suitable for long gaming sessions, and you can even detach their boom microphone for a more casual look.
Out-of-the-box, they have a fairly neutral, though slightly warm sound profile that adds a little extra boom to your audio, so you can feel the punch in action-packed scenes in your favorite games. If you prefer a different sound, you can also customize them using the graphic EQ and presets available in the Astro Command Center software, which is nice. Also, their microphone has an impressive recording quality, so your voice sounds clear to your teammates on the other end of the line, even if you're gaming in a noisy place.
Unfortunately, like many gaming headphones, they have a bad noise isolation performance, so you may be distracted by background noises while you game. They also leak a lot of audio, which can be really annoying for those around you, especially if you're listening to audio at loud volumes. However, if you're looking for a pair of wired gaming headphones to use at home, they're a solid choice.
If you're looking for a cheaper, more versatile pair of wired gaming headphones, consider the Logitech G433 Gaming Headset. While they aren't as comfortable or as well-built as the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019, they're still a good choice for wired gaming at a more affordable price. Out-of-the-box, these headphones have a very neutral sound profile that's suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. They also offer a graphic EQ and presets in the Logitech G Hub companion software so you can customize their sound more to your liking. Like the Astro, their boom microphone is detachable, and it offers an excellent recording quality that transmits your voice clearly, even if you're gaming in a noisy place. However, they have poor noise isolation, and they also leak a lot of audio.
If you want better-built, more comfortable headphones, check out the Astro, but if you're looking to save some money and don't mind their fabric design, consider the Logitech instead.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless is the best gaming headset for Xbox Series X that we've tested. These gaming headphones use Xbox Wireless Technology to pair with Xbox consoles, just like an Xbox controller. This connection provides decently low-latency transmission of audio, so you shouldn't miss too much while gaming. They're also Bluetooth-compatible, allowing you to chat with friends or stream music from your phone while remaining connected to your console.
They supply about 28 hours of continuous playback time, which should be enough for a couple of extended gaming sessions, though real-world battery consumption can vary depending on your usage habits. Their out-of-the-box sound profile is rather well-balanced, giving in-game sound effects as well as dialogue and music roughly equal weight. They also have a retractable boom microphone that delivers impressive recording quality and does an amazing job of isolating your voice from background noise, so teammates can hear you clearly even if you're in a loud environment.
Unfortunately, due to their poor noise isolation capability, you may have trouble understanding others if you're in a noisy setting. Their ski-band adjustable headband can also feel a little tight for users with larger heads. Otherwise, if you're looking for a versatile gaming headset for your Xbox Series X console, this is a good option.
If you're looking for a pair of headphones that's compatible with your Xbox One, consider the Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019 instead. While they aren't compatible with the Xbox Series X like the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless, this could be because we've only tested the PS4 variant. That said, their Xbox One variant still offers an impressive wireless gaming performance if you're gaming on an Xbox One. They're comfortable and well-built, and their wireless dock makes it easy to charge them. Their default sound profile is pretty neutral, and the extra kick in the bass helps you feel the deep thumps and rumbles in action-packed scenes. The Astro Command Center software gives you access to a graphic EQ and presets so you can customize their sound to your liking. Thanks to their boom microphone's excellent recording quality, you can also communicate with your teammates easily, even if you're gaming in a noisy environment.
If you want a pair of headphones that's compatible with Xbox Series X consoles, check out the SteelSeries, but if you're gaming on an Xbox One console, consider the Astro.
The Logitech G432 Gaming Headset is the best budget-friendly gaming headset that we've tested. These wired headphones have a comfortable fit that makes them suitable for long gaming sessions without feeling a lot of fatigue. They have a boom microphone with excellent recording quality, so your voice is clear, detailed, and natural-sounding to your teammates, even if you're gaming in a noisy place.
These headphones have a pretty balanced, neutral sound profile that makes them suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. Though they lack a bit of low-bass out-of-the-box, you can use the 10-band graphic EQ and presets in the Logitech G Hub companion software to adjust their sound more to your liking. The G HUB software also lets you adjust the microphone and sidetone levels and adjust the surround sound feature, which is handy.
Unfortunately, like most gaming headphones we've tested, they have poor noise isolation and leak a bit of audio, so they aren't really suitable to wear at the office or during your commute. Their audio delivery also isn't very consistent across different listeners, especially if you wear glasses. However, if you're on a budget and want a customizable pair of gaming headphones to use at home, they're a good choice.
Apr 07, 2021: Minor updates to the text; no changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Mar 11, 2021: Verified that main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their category. Added ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air Wireless and Audeze Penrose Wireless to Notable Mentions.
Feb 12, 2021: Added the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless as the 'Best Gaming Headset for Xbox Series X' and the Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019 as the 'Xbox One Alternative'. Added the SteelSeries Arctis 1 as a Notable Mention.
Jan 08, 2021: Replaced the HyperX Cloud Stinger with the Logitech G432 as 'Best Budget'. Updated Notable Mentions.
Dec 04, 2020: Added the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless to Notable Mentions.
Nov 06, 2020: Updated text for clarity and accuracy, no change in recommendations.
Oct 09, 2020: Added the Logitech G PRO X WIRELESS LIGHTSPEED Gaming Headset as a Notable Mention.
Sep 11, 2020: Replaced the Corsair HS60 with the HyperX Cloud Stinger to reflect pricing changes, added the SteelSeries Arctis 1 as 'Alternative with a Detachable Mic'.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best gaming headphones and the best gaming earbuds to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our headphones reviews, sorted by their wireless gaming performance. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection, especially if you don't care about having a microphone or wireless features.